The Sacred Antinous - Erotically-charged, Explicitly Illustrated, Queer-Themed Historical Fiction about Antinous and Hadrian
Sacred Texts
  ~000 Introduction
  ~001 Arrival at Caelian Hill
  ~002 Life at the Paedagogium
  ~003 Monsters and Heroes
  ~004 The Private Baths
  ~005 The Soaps of Cyprias
  ~006 The Treachery of Gryllus
  ~007 Assurances and Endurances
  ~008 The Demise of Trenus
  ~009 The Surprise Inspection
  ~010 Little Donkey
  ~011 Whispering Hope
  ~012 Epigrams for Antinous
  ~013 Books from Maltinus
  ~014 Little Signals
  ~015 Promotion
  ~016 Juvenalis IX
  ~017 A Frothy Idea
  ~018 Evening on the Riverbank
  ~019 Across the Leagues
  ~020 Unprecedented Access
  ~021 Winged Mercury
  ~022 Dinner Guest
  ~023 Causes of Nausea
  ~024 New Pupil
  ~025 Wax, Soap, and Wool
  ~026 Four Daughters
  ~027 Vitalis Atones
  ~028 Futures and Histories...
  ~029 The Triumph of Desire
  ~030 An Image of Antinous
  ~031 The Ride From Rome
  ~032 The Villa at Tibur
  ~033 The Ride To Rome
  ~034 Praeconina
  ~035 Foolish Carisius
  ~036 The Christian Texts
  ~037 Married Pleasures
  ~038 In Tibur, Alone
  ~039 The End of Corinthus
  ~040 Turning Tables
  ~041 A History & Fantasy...
  ~042 A Sad Collection
  ~043 Rafts in a Raging Sea
  ~044 Rome, Home and History
  ~045 A Caravan of Monologue
  ~046 On Favorinus
  ~047 The Flesh of a Metaphor
  ~048 Disquieting Thoughts
  ~049 Purple Reign
  ~050 The Heart of Numidia
  ~051 Stables of the Palatine
  ~052 Hadrian's Deprivation
  ~053 Transcripts and Categories
  ~054 In the Wake of a Paradox
  ~055 Father of the Country
  ~056 The First Night with Hadrian
  ~057 A Place in the World
  ~058 Hard Resolution
  ~059 Announcements...
  ~060 Keeping Company
  ~061 The Stallions' Ride
  ~062 The Tour Begins
  ~063 On the Isthmus
  ~064 On Grief
  ~065 The Eleusian Mysteries
  ~066 A Playful Wager
  ~067 The Delights of Athens
  ~068 On Receiving
  ~069 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~070 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~071 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~072 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~073 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~074 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~075 Epistle Coming Soon
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  ~078 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~079 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~080 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~081 Epistle Coming Soon
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  ~083 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~084 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~085 Epistle Coming Soon
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  ~090 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~091 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~092 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~093 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~094 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~095 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~096 Epistle Coming Soon
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Phallic Amulets

Epigrams for Antinous


He is around 25 years old, and his name is Lucius Commodus. He is quite handsome, and a very fine dresser, and there is no doubt in my mind that he knows it perfectly well. He walks grandly, with a bold gait that drums the assurance of place and title. He is a former favourite of the Emperor – twice removed from the current Corinthus. And yet it is clear to all that he still commands a place at Hadrian’s table.

He arrived at the stables in a great fanfare of attention and jumped to the ground before even his horse could be settled. Off he strode toward the halls without so much as a word to his slaves, who quietly began to assemble his baggage and transport the lot of it to his awaiting chamber. None of them noticed, however, when a lone book fell from the saddle bag whilst it was being untied. It lay still upon the ground when his servants departed to find their master, and I only discovered the orphan book in the quiet aftermath several minutes later. I instantly deduced its owner, and alerted Anaxamenos. Anaxamenos told me to take it to Florentius, which I did, explaining how and where I found it. Florentius was keen to see it restored, but was also in the midst of instructing some workmen on the repair of a wall, and thus ordered me to fulfill the mission myself. Off, then, to the palace I ventured in search of Lucius Commodus.

Martial EpigramsIt goes without saying that at the first available empty corridor I dashed into hiding and opened the little book to see what it revealed. It was written in Latin, and its author was one by the name of Valerius Martialis. The volume was entitled “Epigrams II,” and there was a hearty collection of them. I was excited, for I had been previously and briefly exposed to this Martialis from Gryllus, and remember thinking that I wished to know more of the man’s work. Gryllus had told me that the poems were deemed base by a great many official tongues but were widely enjoyed in the private parlours of Rome. In fact, he had once even read to me a few of them, and I was amazed to find myself laughing with him despite the simultaneous horror at how quickly such laughter had transgressed the bounds of propriety.

Thus I found myself once again in awe of both the writer’s fearlessness and my own lack of restraint, as I shamelessly devoured verse upon verse, agape with wonder, joy and the instant stiffening in my loins. There were many obscenities in them; many disgusts. And yet now, with the words spread out and laid bare (like a woman!) before me, there was also the occasional glimpse of beauty cloaked in a veil of sadness; a deep desire for so much more than Martialis' own, hungry life could afford to mete out on a daily basis. When he wrote of souls debased – of acts and words both hypocritical and cowardly – there seemed to whimper beneath his open and brazen disdain the private prayer for a world more perfect and golden; a desperate need for love and compassion; a lament for the lost race of pure and honourable heroes. O Lysicles, I was smitten! Here was a writer who could both harden my shaft and melt my heart with the very same stroke of his carefree stylus.

I am not ashamed to tell you that, after having read only thirty-three epigrams, I frigged myself right there in the corridor. It was a quick and clumsy burst of fluid – expressed for no other reason than to coax into submission my insistent flesh that refused to go down. After all, if I was to wander the halls of the Palatine in search of a young nobleman, I was adamant that it was not to be done with an erection. Such is only to invite trouble! (I both shudder to think yet twitter to imagine what Martialis himself would have made of such a confession).

The Garden of PriapusHaving at last composed myself, I set out again upon my quest. By now I was familiar with much of the palace, and possessed of a very good sense as to where I might locate Commodus. Happily, I was not mistaken, and with the help of some standing guards had no trouble finding his retinue in one of the guest quarters. I was admitted by a servant who brought me into his master’s bedchamber, where Commodus was already half-naked and in the midst of anointing himself with perfumes. “A message already?” he sang mockingly. “Why, I’m not even fresh! Which of my many admirers has sent you?”

I was bashful (although perhaps secretly gratified) at the prospect of telling him that the answer was none of them. “It is no message, Sir,” I said, being very deliberate about looking steadily into the almond-shaped eyes that straddled the long nose of his long face. “I am come from the stables, and charged simply with returning to your person this book that was mistakenly dropped by your staff.” At this he shot one of his boys an angry look, and I was sorry for the poor slave who would no doubt suffer some humiliation at a later date on account of his carelessness. But Commodus just as quickly faced me again, smiled and held out his hand. I placed the book in his palm, and he instantly leafed through it in order to ensure that it had not been damaged. “This man,” he confided to me, “ is my Virgilius. Did you read any of it?” I wished not to suggest that I had trespassed upon his property and so I shook my head. And he (the fop!) assumed by it that I had no interest in literature at all: “It is no doubt far above you, being, as it is, very base.” Thus was I quite epigrammatically judged, insulted, and dismissed. As I walked from his chamber I resolved to despise forever the very pretentious Lucius Commodus.

You can be sure that I later reported the entire tale to Anaxamenos, who laughed heartily, for it confirmed to him his suspicions about Commodus’ character. “He is a sensualist,” said my friend. “He lives for rose petals, sweetmeats and women. Only on rare occasion has he a desire for boys too, and had it been today, Antinous, be sure that you would not have returned so soon to tell your tale. And had you indeed been delayed, it’s quite possible that you would have given report of a considerably more agreeable soul.” I smiled knowingly at Anaxamenos, and replied: “If he likes his women, then he no doubt enjoys the manner in which their bodies must receive him. And thus be it in the same manner, I believe, that he should prefer to be received by his boys. Therefore, if to suddenly find myself become the man’s receptacle, I should imagine his disagreeableness much more than doubled." And Anaxamenos laughed harder then, embraced me lovingly, and together we set to our work until the sun had dipped a toe into the sea.

That very brief encounter with a book has rekindled for me the fire that was previously ignited in the company of Maltinus. How I miss the pleasures of reading for but pleasure, where there is nothing to study or memorize or defend! To read but simply for the lure of it; the breathy delight of words at once gleeful and garrulous, coy and coiling, dulcet and delicious. Do you know what I dream for, Lysicles? A library – filled to the height of a temple’s thickest columns with the wisdom, wit, and wily ideas of every age past, present and future. How many lifetimes do you suppose I might require for even a cursory glance at such a treasure’s greatest passages? And how many more must needs be added to that figure if that I had you at my side to constantly distract me from the joys of reading them? Too many to count, no doubt. A number so infinite as to render me helplessly immortal. Such indeed is a dream, hey? Thus shall I hasten to my slumber, the quicker to welcome it into my head! A.

The Sacred Antinous is an ongoing work of Historical Fiction, for contemplative and educational purposes.
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